Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm "off the street" working on anothe story but I just got this in my email box and thought it was an interesting press release from the Duke News office.

Oprah and Obama and coverage of it all has been a debate within industry insiders. It's also a huge debate in my household whether or not Oprah will have much of an impact on the race. Here's the release for your reading..

DURHAM, N.C. -- Because of her crossover appeal with white females, Oprah Winfrey’s support for Barack Obama has the potential to affect the outcome of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus and other primaries, says a Duke University political science professor who studies racial minority group politics.

“Her audience base is far more white female than black female and her campaigning for Obama will at least make some white women, who might not have been inclined to vote for a black candidate, look closer at Obama,” says Paula D. McClain, a professor of political science, public policy and African and African American studies. “She may be the opening that allows them to think about a candidate in a way they had not before.” A

ccording to Obama’s camp, Winfrey will join him during campaign stops in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. McClain says women are crucial for all three Democratic frontrunners in Iowa -– Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, the candidates are closely bunched six weeks before the Iowa vote.

“Oprah does not have to move a lot of women, just enough to pull the margin of victory away from Clinton,” McClain says. “For those who are wavering, Oprah could make the difference.”

McClain also notes that this is the first time that Winfrey has endorsed a candidate. “

While her political power is untested, one should not underestimate her potential effect,” McClain says. “It actually may put the other candidates on notice. The dynamic has shifted. If Clinton does not take the Iowa caucus, then it’s really a competitive race going into the other primaries.”

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